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If Japan's NTT DoCoMo has its way, future mobile phones will feature data speeds of 250 Mbps and biochips that could analyze a drop of blood or sweat for illness or stress.
In research findings released this week, the Japanese mobile phone service provider tipped its hand on distant future product plans, although it may take several years for many of them to reach the market. DoCoMo's labs in Yokosuka, Japan, tested a technology called Long Term Evolution and hit data rates of 250 Mbps on the downlink.
In the biochip work, DoCoMo said its experiments with researchers at the University of Toyko were able to successfully demonstrate what it calls "the world's first molecular delivery system for molecular communication." The researchers combined communication technology and biochemistry to use molecules as a communications medium.
"DoCoMo aims to develop systems that could transmit information about the biochemical conditions of living organisms, such as excitement, emotion, stress, or disease," DoCoMo said in a release. The approach could eventually lead to the creation of a biochemical analyzer or a fingertip-sized biochip that would be useful in medical and health situations.
Included in a mobile phone, the biochip could generate data and send it to medical specialists using standard wireless transmission techniques. In addition to health and environmental applications, DoCoMo suggested it also could have entertainment purposes: it could be used for long distance fortune telling.
As for the research in LTE, which it calls Super 3G, DoCoMo said it will discuss the results of its tests in detail at next week's CTIA Wireless event. DoCoMo has an aggressive deployment schedule for the ultra high-speed technology and has targeted 2010 for initial rollout. Many mobile phone service providers have committed to LTE, although actual deployment schedules still are vague.
Verizon Wireless (including its Vodafone Group equity partner) recently said it plans to move to LTE and the GSM Association, representing most of the world's cell phone service providers, also has endorsed LTE.
DoCoMo picked Ericsson as its partner to supply LTE infrastructure. Ericsson also has been soliciting winners of the recent 700-MHz spectrum auction as candidates for its LTE infrastructure technology.